Old meds can be dropped at sheriff's office
Niagara County residents can now drop old prescription drugs, expired medications, and other common pharmaceuticals off at a confidential drop-off site at the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.
The public may drop off unused pharmaceuticals from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the secure, monitored site, which is now officially in operation.
The pharmaceutical waste drop-off site, located at the jail entrance to the sheriff's 0ffice at 5526 Niagara St. Ext., is the first of three slated to be permanently opened in the county, allows residents to dispose of old medications - which can be otherwise potentially harmful to children, pets, or the environment if improperly disposed of.
The site is a collaborative effort between the Niagara County Refuse Disposal District and the sheriff's office.
"Disposing of these wastes at a controlled drop-off site, where they can be disposed of in an environmentally benign manner, is smart policy when it comes to protecting our environment," said Dawn Timm, interim director of the refuse district. "Medications should never be flushed or poured down a drain, because they can make their way into our water supply and impact water ecology. We're trying to prevent that."
Timm said the drugs are collected from a secure bin on a weekly basis, and transported to an industrial incinerator where they are completely destroyed. For that reason, medical devices containing mercury cannot be accepted.
Timm and Sheriff James R. Voutour also pointed to the dangers of leaving prescription and over-the-counter medications out for trash collection, noting that children and pets can often gain access to large quantities of drugs that can prove harmful.
The collection of unused prescription drugs, in particular, is also important in keeping such medications from being abused.
"Pharmaceuticals are a hot commodity on the streets these days," Voutour said. "The ability to allow citizens to dispose of unwanted drugs year-round will help keep them out of the wrong hands."
The leader of the Niagara County Legislature's majority caucus, Legislator Rick Updegrove, R-Lockport, was on-hand at the sheriff's office to check out the new drop-off site.
"This is a good partnership between law enforcement, our refuse district, and county government to keep our neighborhoods safe and prevent unused prescriptions from falling into the wrong hands," he said. "As an added benefit, we're able to provide this service utilizing county personnel and facilities that are already paid for in our budget."
Two additional pharmaceutical collection sites are set to be opened in Lewiston and Niagara Falls later in the summer.
For more information on the county's pharmaceutical collection points, call the Niagara County Sheriff's Office at 716-438-3370 or the refuse district at 716-439-7240.